Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lighten Up!

Don't beat your self up or feel shame whatsoever, because we've all been there.  It's almost a month after Santa popped into town and you still have tinsel spread around.  But, it's okay.  Now, if you leave your outdoor lights up all year, that's another story, but lingering ornaments inside is expected.  The rush of the holidays, for me, is like having a huge meal after a fast.  I'm stuffed, mildly sick, and don't feel like doing anything but slithering into my favorite stretchy pants and curling up on the sofa with a good book.  At some point, however, you have to face the Christmas music and, well, PUT IT AWAY!  I know this sounds corny, but I try to make the disassembly process as fun as the decorating.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I like to buy new storage containers, head to after Christmas sales and pick up a few goodies for next year and, most of all (and probably strangest), I love to re-organize my ornaments before putting them away.  Hands down Christmas lights are probably the biggest pain in the neck to re-package.  Stuffing them back into their original boxes is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.  It aint gonna happen!  A few years ago I just gave up and decided the collateral damage from my holiday decorating would always be the replacing of Christmas lights.  When you have seven trees, however, that can get pricey!  So, I've devised this cool little system I hope might help.  The week BEFORE Christmas I head to Target or walmart when plastic bins are marked way, way down (they actually put the prices back up after the holidays, you guessed it, because we're all searching for them).  I then cut cardboard pieces slightly smaller than the inside measurements.  When the lights come down, I wind them up on the cardboard and neatly stack them in the bins.  In December when the trees are all up I'll throw up the lights, pour a cocktail and enjoy the tree instead of hitting the stores for more lights!
TIME TO COMPLETE TASK: Five minutes to make, hours to un-decorate
COST: Bins: $3.99/each at Target
QUICK TIP: I like to pack each bin according to tree.  Family room tree lights and ornaments all go in red containers, for example, living room in green, etc.  I also pack surge protectors WITH the lights so, again, in December I'm not running all over the house looking for them when it's time to  decorate!